Family / Parenting

Even grown-ups get grumpy

It's ok that you're crabby, I'm adorable It’s ok that you’re crabby, I’m adorable

I have probably not been the most enjoyable person to be around lately. This past week has been one of those weeks where I feel exhausted by three in the afternoon. Little Bear hasn’t been sleeping very soundly and when she comes to sleep with us, she has been whacking us, sleeping perpendicular to us and kicking my neck and chest with her feet while pushing her shoulders into my partner’s back.

Work has felt like a series of draining meetings and to-do lists. I also have been having trouble remembering to do my testosterone shot in a timely fashion, which makes me extra grouchy and irritable. Yes, it shouldn’t be that hard to remember but get an intramuscular injection every day for five years and see if you are really thrilled about continuing to do them.

I know that I am not at my parenting best in these moments, nor am I a very good partner. I snap at the first sign of a toddler whine and if Little Bear throws food on the floor, my stern if-I-were-any-louder-I’d-be-yelling voice comes out. Even though it might feel good for a split second in the moment, that isn’t the sort of person I want to be. Instead of snapping after shoving all my feelings down or pretending like I don’t have feelings other than positive ones, I’ve been trying to articulate my feelings. This has been surprisingly good for me, in that it forces me to actually name how I am feeling. Realistically, Little Bear probably won’t remember that the winter she was two her daddy walked around saying things like “I feel frustrated when you throw your noodles on the floor” and “I feel mad when I drop my glasses.” But I will and, hopefully, I’ll be able to continue so that I can express my emotions appropriately and not expect Little Bear or my partner to interpret or manage my feelings.

It’s times like these when I can be pleasantly surprised at how empathetic Little Bear can be. Just this morning, I was grumbling to myself after unclogging our upstairs drain. I was trying to tidy up and she asked, “Daddy kinda crabby?” with her head tilted, her brow furrowed. “Yeah, I am feeling kind of crabby today,” I respond. “Daddy crabby, yep. Daddy take a break,” Little Bear says soothingly while patting my arm. “I love you Daddy!” I get a quick hug and she is off, making me a pretend smoothie and using every toy in the living room to make a house for Rabbit.

Here’s to being a grown up, having feelings (maybe even Feelings with a capital F), and still being able to enjoy an imaginary smoothie every once in a while.


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  1. Yep yep yep. I spend a fair amount of time reflecting on how my mood or stress affected my behavior. I have no idea if it is the “right” thing but I try to hold myself accountable. Something I didn’t do very well for many years.

  2. Read this while sitting here calculating if and when I can fit in a nap today. Crap for sleep last night and a very full day ahead. Thanks for your honesty and for the reminder to slow down and listen to myself. If I do, I think I can get through the day without using the “if I were any louder I would be yelling” voice.

  3. I put myself in timeout today. It was just too grumpy, and frustrated, and having a difficult time responding appropriately, and I had already said I was grumpy and named feelings. It ended up being really good, with Little Elephant coming over, hugging me, deciding she was really tired and needed bed, and that we should snuggle in timeout chair until we BOTH felt better.

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